Corporate finance teams look to lawyers to fill the gaps

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Lawyers who fancy trying their hand at corporate finance should take heed. The move is apparently easier than it's ever been.

"If you're a lawyer who wants to move into banking, now's the time to do it," says Logan Naidu, a consultant at recruiter Cornell Partnership. "The shortage of junior corporate financiers means banks are a lot more open to hiring lawyers than they have been previously."

The window of time for a banking move is relatively short - Naidu says most lawyers do it within one or two years of qualifying. They typically go in as second-year analysts, earning a 45k base salary, plus a bonus of 100%.

This exceeds what they can earn in private practice, where salaries are typically higher, but bonuses are considerably lower.

Banks' appetite for lawyers is creating problems for law firms, who are reputedly struggling to retain the people they've spent long hours training. The Lawyer recently reported that US law firms in particular have begun increasing trainee pay in an effort to head off banks - Clifford Chance, for example, has raised the salary for its newly qualified lawyers in the US to 82k.

Naidu says the lawyers best placed to make the corporate finance leap are 'commercial', with fantastic academics and a history at a magic circle law firm.

Not everyone is so sure lawyers are quite as popular as all that, however. Gareth Townshend, a consultant at recruitment firm Stevenson James, says lawyers make the move into corporate finance occasionally and can only do so if they've worked on corporate transactions: "You can't go into this from employment law."

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